Prince Malyon, heir to the throne of Abagarlas, gave his life in defending the Mortuum Vivicus against the Delodiil invaders. It was a noble sacrifice, for an ignoble cause.
The politicians will slander his integrity, the historians will denounce his motives, and the bards will celebrate his failure. Only the soldiers will recognize his gallantry; for there but by the grace of fate go we.
The Fighter’s Guild master Sees-All-Colors opens a portal for us into the ruins of Abargarlas, an ancient Ayleid city in Cyrodiil whose citizens were known to worship the Daedric master of corruption, Molag Bal. See’s-All-Colors casts another spell so that we might experience the events prior to the city’s destruction and discover the fate of the dread weapon Mortuum Vivicus which threatened all Tamriel.
Such demanding feats of spell-casting would prove a challenge for most members of the Mages Guild, yet Colors manages both with seemingly little endeavour. I cannot help feeling disquiet at this, yet thus far the Argonian has proved nothing but sincere. I have always wondered whether if it is more dishonourable to mistrust our comrades, or to be deceived by them?
I have little time to contemplate this further however, for as soon as I begin my search through the corridors of the perfidious city, the dead rise to challenge me.
From the Mages Guildhall in Shornhelm, Valaste opens a portal back to the Shivering Isles of Oblivion, so that I might attempt to retrieve another tome for Shalidor.
Once more the Mad God Sheogorath would have me play his fool; this time in a farce of his own writing he calls ‘The Folly of Isolation’. Usually one has to search a little for a semblance of reason within Sheogorath’s irrationality, here however it is plain. One by one the leaders of Tamriel turn upon the mages for their continued neutrality in the Three Banners War.
What is of more intrigue to me however, is what is happening off stage in the wings. What is the significance of the statue of Vaermina the Daedric Prince of nightmares hidden within one of the buildings? And why are spectral scenes from Valaste and Shalidor’s past echoing throughout the circus? Is it by accident or design? Could it possibly be that Sheogorath’s own mania betrays him, in that the Mad God obsession with Valaste and Shalidor, runs just as deep as Shalidor’s obsession with Eyevea?
Perhaps though I am just the victim of a double bluff, and these echoes are just another of his mischievous ideas, a sprinkling of never-there chaos, just like his suggestion that the Mages guild should choose a side, and become drawn into the tumult and disorder of war.
The truth is, no matter how powerful these Daedric princes are in Oblivion, in Tamriel they know as much about tomorrow as does the Hoarvor wallowing in a stinking Black Marsh swamp.
At the Mages Guild hall in Shornhelm, the apprentice Naudet Fauconniere can be found practising her craft day in, day out. The air about the Breton apprentice feels crisp with static charge, particles of molten gold hew dance about her every intimation, and each phrase she speaks she crafts with the subtle complexity of a blossoming flower.
To the layman she performs little more than parlour trick and gimmick, but these simple feats of conjuration and imagination are essential training. For much like a soldier who batters a straw dummy with his wooden sword for hour upon end, only through repetition does response become reflex.
Magic is the art of altering the world about through ones thought and will. The mage knows that two and two makes four, but nothing gives them more pleasure then finding ways to convert two and two into five; because for the mage, it is far better to conquer one’s own limits than win a hundred battles against another’s.
Sparks begin to fizz from her fingertips, she draws yellowish brown light from the ground below, and I leave her to her world within a world; the realm of magica, the boundless prairie whose only borders and limits are those of her own will and imagination.